The Story of Tom Brennan

by

J. C. Burke

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Brendan Character Analysis

Brendan is Tom's uncle. He lives in a cabin on Gran's property and runs the tractor repair business at the sheds, which he inherited from Pa. He's gay and not secretive about it, though Tom does note that Gran has never been told outright. Brendan was an instrumental figure in getting the Brennans through the trauma of Daniel's trial: he helped to support Mum in her grief most of all. After the move to Coghill, Brendan becomes an important guiding force in Tom's life as well. He's able to convince Tom to start running with him in the mornings, which gives the two the opportunity to talk about Daniel. Brendan and Daniel had been close when Daniel was a kid; Brendan, Daniel, and Fin often went off and did things together and left Tom with Kylie. As Tom and Brendan become closer, Tom realizes that Daniel truly knew Brendan: he was surely more than marginally aware that Brendan is gay and likely saw Brendan as a full person, not just an uncle. Tom begins to make these shifts as well, especially when he catches Brendan experiencing moments of crushing grief. As Brendan and Tom continue to run, Brendan is eventually able to talk Tom into going to Nepal with him to hike to the Mount Everest base camp. This gives both of them something to work for and a way forward out of their grief. Near the end of the novel, Brendan admits that he and his boyfriend, Jonny, had planned to leave Coghill for Sydney, but decided to stay in the aftermath of the accident. This impresses upon Tom the importance of making sacrifices for one's family.

Brendan Quotes in The Story of Tom Brennan

The The Story of Tom Brennan quotes below are all either spoken by Brendan or refer to Brendan. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of The Story of Tom Brennan published in 2005.
Chapter Six Quotes

Brendan didn't want to say how bad Fin really was because it'd upset Dad and it wasn't his fault. But then Dad couldn't tell Brendan, or probably anyone for that matter, what state Daniel was in because the general consensus was that Daniel deserved what he got.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Dad, Brendan
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Ten Quotes

"It gets him out of the mainstream for a while, gives him a bit of breathing space," explained Brendan. "He finds the visiting hard. I mean, it's his lifeline, but the guilt resurfaces every time. That's what strangles him."

Related Characters: Brendan (speaker), Tom Brennan, Daniel Brennan
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Sixteen Quotes

Before, Brendan had been someone who was just always around. Someone I never really thought about. Mum's little brother. My uncle, that was about as far as it went. But that's when life was simpler.

Now Brendan wanted me to see him. See who he really was. This was probably the way Daniel saw him and now I did too.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Mum, Gran, Brendan, Jonny Tulake
Page Number: 234
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Story of Tom Brennan LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Story of Tom Brennan PDF

Brendan Character Timeline in The Story of Tom Brennan

The timeline below shows where the character Brendan appears in The Story of Tom Brennan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter One
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Uncle Brendan attempts to carve the roast pork. The pork is so overcooked that he can barely... (full context)
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Uncle Brendan reminds Tom that there's a game of touch rugby in the afternoon, which will give... (full context)
Chapter Two
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...done for a while. He goes downstairs to his room, which used to be Uncle Brendan's. It's dark and brown, so Tom nicknamed it "the cave" when he arrived. Because the... (full context)
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Uncle Brendan sticks his head in to check on Tom. Tom brushes off Brendan's attempts to make... (full context)
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...between Gran and Tom in the back. Tom can tell she's extremely angry. Dad and Brendan discuss a tractor they have to fix tomorrow. Tom explains that Dad used to work... (full context)
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Brendan calls out the window to Shorty, a tall man meticulously picking lettuce off of his... (full context)
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...ago. He's shocked that everything at the Coghill field feels so familiar and grudgingly lets Brendan take him around and introduce him to the other guys. Tom feels like an outsider... (full context)
Chapter Three
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...bed all day. Dad convinces Tom to go down to the sheds and talk to Brendan and then heads outside. Tom wanders down the hall and stands in Mum's bedroom door.... (full context)
Chapter Four
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...used to call it "Saint Marge's Boogie." Pa left his onsite tractor repair business to Brendan after he died, and now Jonny works there too. The sheds where they work stand... (full context)
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...He sees Jonny's boots poking out from under a tractor, and Jonny sends Tom into Brendan's house to check email. (full context)
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Tom hears the shower going so he lets himself in. Brendan’s house isn't what Tom remembers; there are empty bottles and cans everywhere and the place... (full context)
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Tom thinks Daniel truly knew Brendan; the two spent a lot of time together. He notices a photo on Brendan's desk... (full context)
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Brendan tries to talk to Tom about school and give him the "time is a healer"... (full context)
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...realizes the phone is ringing but lets it go to voicemail. It's Aunty Kath, updating Brendan on Fin and asking about the plan for the weekend. This makes Tom think of... (full context)
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...to take Mum and see Daniel the next day. She suggests that Tom go with Brendan to see Fin and Aunty Kath, and then mentions that Fin will move to a... (full context)
Chapter Five
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On Saturday, Mum and Dad drive to see Daniel while Brendan and Tom visit Fin. As Tom and Brendan head out of Coghill, Brendan stops at... (full context)
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When Tom returns to the car with the box, he remarks to Brendan that Chrissy thinks the box is for their granddad. Brendan explains that Chrissy and Jonny's... (full context)
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After a few minutes of silence, Brendan says that Daniel isn't doing well. Tom grouses that nobody tells him anything, and Brendan... (full context)
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...from slapping Fin's hand like he used to. He tells Fin that he's here with Brendan and notices that the sign on Fin's bed reads "C5 incomplete injury"; Tom doesn't know... (full context)
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Brendan and Aunty Kath walk into Fin's room. Aunty Kath's big sunglasses can't hide that she's... (full context)
Chapter Six
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When Tom and Brendan leave the hospital, they're too exhausted to swim in the ocean so they begin the... (full context)
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...her complaining about the price of lamb is a welcome distraction from everyone else's gloom. Brendan insists that Fin is doing well, but Tom knows that Brendan just doesn't want to... (full context)
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...man at the gate played at the Australia Day touch game and recognizes Tom as Brendan's nephew. Tom counts out his change, admits that he's from Mumbilli, and realizes he's 20... (full context)
Chapter Seven
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Sunday, the 28th of August was the first day of Tom's new life. Brendan arrived and took Mum to the police station. Kylie and Tom sat at home, and... (full context)
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Early on Monday morning, Brendan left to be with Aunty Kath and Fin. Tom and Kylie didn't go to school,... (full context)
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...and threw up. They only ate because Matt's mother kept bringing over casseroles. Dad and Brendan attended Nicole and Luke's funerals. The day before Daniel's court appearance, Talbot said the only... (full context)
Chapter Eight
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On the day of rugby tryouts, Brendan drives Tom and Kylie to school. He teases Kylie as she puts black eyeliner on... (full context)
Chapter Nine
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...barely ate and spent most of his time crying. Then, one night when Gran and Brendan were visiting, Gran heard something at the door. Dad found a letter addressed to "the... (full context)
Chapter Ten
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...arm while continuing to say that Tom was a sure thing for the team. Finally, Brendan insists it's time to go. Tom stiffens as Mum hugs him and thinks that her... (full context)
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In the truck to the Westleigh Detention Center, Brendan laments that he can't do anything for Mum—she refuses help. When Brendan suggests that Tom... (full context)
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After a while, Brendan comments that Tom hasn't seen Daniel in a while. He says that Daniel seems to... (full context)
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Tom thinks the prison feels sticky and disgusting when he and Brendan get in line for security. He can't help but think that he and Brendan aren't... (full context)
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Tom and Brendan sit in the waiting room and try not to catch anyone else's eye. Tom watches... (full context)
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Brendan and Tom line up with other visitors and Brendan snags a table near the wall... (full context)
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...the table and says he messed everything up; Tom tries desperately to make Daniel stop. Brendan cushions Daniel's head and assures him that he'll get through his time in jail. Tom... (full context)
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...Daniel moves to the peer support facility and Tom starts running in the mornings with Brendan. Tom can barely make it up the ascent without vomiting, but Brendan makes sure that... (full context)
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Brendan admits that there are times when he can't wrap his head around the idea of... (full context)
Chapter Eleven
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...to find everyone in Mum's room. Mum is curled into a ball on the bed. Brendan sits with her, Aunty Kath paces, and Gran and Kylie stand against the wall. Kath... (full context)
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...Tom has grand plans for a birthday gift. One weekend morning, Tom goes to see Brendan at the sheds and makes up excuses for why he didn't join him for a... (full context)
Chapter Twelve
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...to drag the rest of the family down with her as he heads down to Brendan's cabin. Brendan passes Tom a beer and asks if Kylie is still crying. He says... (full context)
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Brendan says that Chrissy heard about the speech and came looking for Tom earlier. Tom moans... (full context)
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Tom asks how Brendan can be so sure that nothing is going to happen. He admits he's scared of... (full context)
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...Dad and Tom drive through Coghill on their way to see Daniel, Tom sees that Brendan was right: there's no graffiti or signs in windows telling the Brennans to go home.... (full context)
Chapter Thirteen
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...is different, but not bad. Then, Kylie starts to giggle again and says she overheard Brendan on the phone—apparently, Chrissy thinks Tom is cute. (full context)
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...can feel the air get chilly when Mum and Kath are near each other, and Brendan tries to ease the tension with little success. Tom tries to escape by helping Dad... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen
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...the weeks that Mum and Dad are with Daniel, Tom throws himself into running with Brendan. Tom either zones out or they talk about Daniel. One morning, when they get back... (full context)
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Brendan picks Tom up after practice and Tom jokes that his teammates are hopeless. Brendan suggests... (full context)
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...up trapped between the toilet and the sink, the water spraying all over the bathroom. Brendan and Jonny race in, Chrissy right behind them. (full context)
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...manages to turn the water off and hands Tom a towel, and then he and Brendan start laughing. Chrissy tries not to laugh and compliments Tom on his nice butt. Later,... (full context)
Chapter Fifteen
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When Tom and Brendan run up the ascent a few days later, Brendan suggests they go away for Christmas... (full context)
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At dinner with Brendan, Jonny, and Chrissy later, Chrissy wishes she'd been there to watch the match. Brendan asks... (full context)
Chapter Sixteen
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Brendan asks Tom to do some work around the sheds to earn the trip to Nepal.... (full context)
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Brendan says he wants to talk about what Chrissy said at dinner the other week. Tom... (full context)
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...plan. To keep his mind off of the game with St. John's, Tom goes to Brendan's cabin to research Nepal. Tom knocks and lets himself in. Brendan doesn't see Tom. He's... (full context)
Chapter Seventeen
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...that it's strange watching someone else cry. He thinks that a few months ago, seeing Brendan cry would've sent him into a dark spiral. Tom thinks that seeing Brendan cry put... (full context)
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As Tom and Brendan run, Brendan asks Tom if he's aware that Chrissy really likes him. Tom immediately is... (full context)
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Brendan says that what he said the other day about not leaving Coghill is actually complicated.... (full context)
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...build Gran a chicken coop and get her some chickens, but says he'll need help. Brendan suggests he do it for Gran's birthday in September. Tom asks Brendan for help and... (full context)
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When Brendan heads into town later in the evening, Tom stays in the sheds and cleans. He... (full context)
Chapter Eighteen
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...week of the holiday blissful. He loves working on the chicken coop with Chrissy and Brendan. One afternoon Chrissy and Tom discuss being monogamous, but Mum interrupts them with cold drinks.... (full context)
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...On the morning of Gran's birthday, he blindfolds Gran and leads her outside, Kylie, Mum, Brendan, and Dad close behind. They pull the blindfold off and Gran stares at the chickens,... (full context)
Chapter Nineteen
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...a party at Gran's house would be boring and he also wants to see Daniel. Brendan says that Daniel is doing better one morning as they run one of Brendan's hilly... (full context)
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One morning, Brendan and Tom run to the river and jump in. Tom thinks about bringing Chrissy to... (full context)
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The day before Tom's birthday, he drives to see Daniel with Mum and Brendan. It's a week after the anniversary of the accident, and Tom thinks he could do... (full context)
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Brendan and Tom visit with Daniel while Mum talks to the social worker. Daniel wants to... (full context)
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...He feels bad about not telling them about the swimming spot at the river, but Brendan swore him to secrecy. Tom also keeps it a secret because he's decided to take... (full context)
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The next morning, when Brendan sees Tom dressed to go for a run without him, he's thrilled. Brendan talks about... (full context)